Cesar Milan: Friend or Foe?

I’ve been a trainer for over fifteen years. In that fifteen years, I’ve read countless training books on all conceivable methods. Some just downright evil in their methods.  Today some of those methods are still used by some but thankfully they are few and far between. 

Training has evolved over the years, as has our understanding of canine behaviour. That evolution has caused the evolution of training methods. It’s only natural for that to happen.  The more we understand the better we can communicate with our dogs. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?

Training has become friendly, fun, informative and bonding moments in time. It’s amazing when handler and dog have those “ah hah!” moments when everything just clicks. 

No intimidation. No alpha rolls. No set up for supreme failure.  And more importantly, no fear. 

So, let’s get right down to it. Cesar Milan. I think most of us have heard about, if not already watched the video that has his ass in such hot water. Personally I think it’s a few years late, but that’s just me. 

Now I’ve heard people rant about him being an excellent trainer and blah, blah, blah. So let’s set the record straight here. 

This is a man that has no formal behaviourist training as per his own admission. This is a man that is not a trainer by his own admission. This is a man whose formal training is as a groomer, again by his own admission. 

This is also a man who CHOSE to set up this dog to fail in an astronomical manner. This man CHOSE to ignore all the positive behaviour he was getting from the dog (ignoring, walking away from the pigs etc) and had an assistant grab a pigs leg to make it squeal. That squeal of pain set off the predatory instinct in this dog. The assistant HELD the pig in place so the dog could bite it and then Cesar, in his infinite wisdom, chased the dog all over the place to alpha roll a dog that had already shown submissive behaviour. THIS is NOT the actions of someone who knows a damn thing about training or behaviour modification. THIS is the behaviour of a man that needs ratings. Period. 

This man is dangerous and people need to realize his methods are ancient and long since been debunked.

But my opinion aside, let’s walk through this video, shall we?

Cesar and said pig killer enter the enclosure on a leash. The dog offers loads of excellent behaviour and all non-reactive. Most trainers would be throwing all sort of rewards and reinforcement of every kind at the dog at this point. The dog is OFFERING this behaviour on his own. A trainer worth his weight would be excited to see this and do everything they could to see he repeats it. 

What does Cesar do?  He ignores it. Not only does he ignore it, he takes the dog off leash. What I like is the dog OFFERED the exact same behaviour: ignoring, walking away, sniffing and investigating this new environment. 

This however makes for a very boring show. Now if this was me, I’d reward the good behaviour which he is already showing and continue on with this road of success and I’d call it a day and hopefully the next client will make as a better story on tv. Why?  Because the main purpose is supposed to be correcting the dogs behaviour. With what the dog was offering, it would have taken time but honestly wouldn’t have been that difficult using positive reinforcement. But it’s not ratings worthy though now is it?

But I digress, so dog continues to ignore the pigs (which is ultimate goal). To the side one of the assistants is holding one of the pigs and grabs it’s leg, making it squeal in pain. That squeal set off the predatory instinct in the dog and he went right for it. The pig didn’t stand a chance as the assistant was still HOLDING the pig. No surprise, the dog bites the pig. NOW Cesar has what he wants: drama. So he chases after the pig all over the enclosure and when the dog finally stops, he drops into a submissive stance to which Cesar responds by alpha rolling him. 

Watch the video here:  

Please turn down your sound, the audio is not the best. 

Cesar set up the dog to fail in astronomical proportions. This whole scenario was a set up to make for better tv. The welfare of any of the animals was not once considered. 

It’s time he is stopped before one of our pets is killed by this mans’ choices for sensationalism to keep his ratings up. 


2 comments on “Cesar Milan: Friend or Foe?

  1. talkdoglogic says:

    I agree completely with your assessment of the video. Unfortunately, as you said, rewarding a dog for presenting good behaviour does not make “good” television. And even more unfortunate is the fact that many people use the Animal Channel as education instead of entertainment.

    • That’s very true. I’ve heard so many folks regurgitate something Milan has said as gospel. I think I find it upsetting as well as disheartening because I got into training to help families to help ensure their dog didn’t end up in a shelter when all it needed was some boundaries and guidance. This man is doing neither. He doesn’t explain what he wants other than showing the dog he must fear him. That’s not training and that’s certainly not behaviour modification.

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